Why Was There A Full-Size Battleship In the Middle of New York In 1917?

By | March 1, 2017

The U.S. Navy thought of a creative idea to encourage military recruitment: build a full-sized battleship complete with a working crew in the heart of New York City.

In the beginning of 1917, the Navy started to construct this amazing ship right in the middle of Union Square, -- not just an image for people to recognize from afar because it had an entire working crew who went about the everyday routines encountered by all sailors in the Navy.

And, yes, the strategy did work! About 25,000 new recruits signed up. Here are some pictures that captured that incredible tactic.

Construction started on the USS Recruit in the heart of Union Square. It created quite a buzz!
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Here you can see the ship coming to life. It attracted an endless crowd of spectators.
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Before the ship was complete, it was painted in the popular "dazzle" style that was used in England. Later on, it was re-painted with a more standard coloring.
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Here you see the ship nearly done. And the spectators began to swell!
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Now, the USS Recruit in full operation. Observe the crew members on deck going about taking care of their duties.
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The sailors onboard perform the duties any sailor would, which always gave the crowd something to watch. It was early-day presentation in a way!
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Daily routine in the morning at 6 a.m, the sailors would turn up for wash duty, just as they would if already in the Navy.
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The onboard duties were taken seriously, as the sailors on deck were actual trainees and this was a factor of their training prior to being fully enlisted.
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Local celebrities also stop by as often as possible. Here is photo with a popular actress giving her salute to the nation!
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